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Hundreds rally at state Capitol in support of Ukraine

March 7, 2022 GMT

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Hundreds of Minnesotans rallied at the state Capitol to show support for Ukraine where more than 1.7 million people have been forced from their country because of Russia’s invasion nearly two weeks ago.

Luda Anastazievsky, chairman of the Minnesota Ukrainian American Advocacy Committee, called on the state Legislature Sunday to divest of any funds benefiting Russia, similar to Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order requiring state agencies to suspend contracts with Russian entities.

Walz, who attended Sunday’s rally, urged other U.S. leaders to do the same.

“To our Ukrainian Minnesota communities, you are woven into the fabric of this state,” Walz said. “Without Ukrainian Minnesotans there is no Minnesota, and today, we are all Ukrainians.”

Some 17,000 Ukrainians reside in Minnesota, according to the Ukrainian American Community Center. That number includes recent immigrants and third-generation Ukrainian Americans, the Star Tribune reported.

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who is of Ukrainian Jewish heritage, said he knows of the resilience of the Ukrainian people because of his own family’s history. He said the stories his grandmother has told him of ancestors standing in solidarity with neighbors throughout the Holocaust and pogroms inspire him.

“When a sovereign nation is threatened, each and every one of us stands up, fights back and does right by humanity and peace in this world,” he said. “We cannot stand idly by; we all must do our parts.”

Russia announced yet another cease-fire and humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee Ukraine starting Monday. Two previous cease-fire attempts have failed. Moscow’s armed forces continued to pummel some Ukrainian cities with rockets even after the announcement.